GREENSBORO– After seven-plus years at the helm of Guilford County Schools (GCS), Maurice O. “Mo” Green is resigning as superintendent to assume leadership of the Z. Smith Reynolds (ZSR) Foundation in Winston-Salem. Green made the announcement at the close of the Guilford County Board of Education meeting this evening. While details are still being worked out with the school board, Green said he expects the transition to occur sometime this coming spring.
Green is currently the president of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and will stay in that role while he remains in his superintendent position.
Since joining GCS in September of 2008, Green has pursued a vision of educational excellence, placing equal emphasis on academic achievement, character development and organizational performance. As a result, high school graduation rates in GCS have risen from 79.7 percent in 2008 to an all-time high of 89.3 percent in 2015. Nine schools posted perfect (100 percent) graduation rates in 2015, while 10 other high schools posted graduation rates of 90 percent or higher.
Gaps in the high school graduation rates between student subgroups also decreased. In 2015, for example, African-American students posted a high school graduation rate of 88 percent, leaving only 4.7 percentage points separate the graduation rates of white and African-American students in GCS. Graduation rates for Latino students also continue to climb, increasing from 68.8 percent in 2008 to 84.6 percent in 2015.
Under Green’s leadership, GCS students have improved their performance on the ACT college entrance exams, earned more industry-standard certifications and tackled more challenging academics. For example, more than one-third (37 percent) of 2015 graduating seniors left GCS having successfully completed one or more college-level classes.
GCS students also have contributed more than one million hours of service and $21 million in economic impact to the community, earning the district state and national recognition as a District of Character in 2013 and 2014 District of Distinction Honoree. Since 2008, dozens of GCS schools have earned a variety of state and national recognitions for promising practices in character education or have been named Schools of Character.
A visionary leader who believes in the power of public-private partnerships, Green used private donations to help open two new early/middle colleges (The STEM Early College at North Carolina A&T State University and the Middle College at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro), launch Guilford Parent Academy, start a Freedom School for homeless children, pilot one-to-one technology at Montlieu Academy, create the innovative middle school called Allen Jay Preparatory Academy and hire Teach for America program participants for GCS schools highly impacted by poverty.
Green, who guided GCS through the Great Recession, always declined the annual 3 percent salary increases mandated by his employment contract. He generated high approval ratings throughout his tenure for his work from the school board in annual reviews, from employees in surveys, and from parents and community members in statistically valid public opinion polls paid for by local businesses through Guilford Education Alliance.
“This is a great loss for GCS but a win for the state and for public education,” said Alan Duncan, school board chairman. “The fact that this highly respected foundation chose our superintendent as its next leader is a reflection of the respect and regard Mo has garnered statewide and nationally.”
A 79-year-old private foundation, ZSR is committed to improving the quality of life of all North Carolinians. Public education is one of ZSR’s focus areas, along with economic development, the environment, social justice and equity, and strengthening democracy. “I am deeply grateful for the opportunities GCS has afforded me,” said Green. “I have always revered educators and I’m pleased my new role will allow me to continue to support the good work of our educators and our public schools throughout North Carolina.”
The school board plans to discuss Green’s transition at a Board meeting on Dec. 17 that originally had been planned as a work session to discuss facility needs. Next steps include appointing an interim superintendent, reassigning job duties as needed, planning the search process for a new superintendent, and ensuring a smooth leadership transition.
“While we will certainly miss Mo and thank him for his outstanding service to Guilford County Schools, we are confident we have the leadership in place to keep the district moving forward while we search for our next superintendent,” said Amos Quick, the school board’s vice chairman.